Patriotic Knee

By: Rebecca Ndebee, Opinion Writer

It is indeed true that if you can’t beat them, join them. Initiated by Colin Kaepernick before it became a mainstream act, taking a knee, highlighted in a Mercury News article, was a statement in protest of the insensible killing of Black people. Heartbroken by the consistent overexertion of force by the police, which led to the untimely deaths of Philando Castile, Cornelius Brown, Patterson Brown, Michael Brown, Sandra Bland and more. No longer willing to remain silent about these unjust killings, Kaepernick took his first knee August 26, 2016 during one of their pre-season games.

Instead of being praised for his selfless act, considering the jeopardy he placed his career in by taking a knee during the national anthem, he was ridiculed by the media.

Kaepernick taking a knee

Somehow his narrative of kneeling in protest against police brutality has been misconstrued by the media and turned into an act of disrespect towards the flag and military personnel. How is that?

How is it that President Trump can make an insensitive statement like “he knew what he signed up for” about a fallen soldier to his grieving wife and mother of two who lost her husband while serving this double standard nation and not lose his job? How is it that Kaepernick is still unemployed for utilizing his right of freedom of expression as an American citizen? Is freedom of expression, then, only supported when used by white people?

The president refers to professional athletes that have decided to stand in solidarity against the brutality against people of color as “son of a bitch” N.F.L. players who had chosen to “disrespect” the “Flag,” but referred to the white supremacists that marched the grounds of UVA as “very fine people.” Is it now clear where his patriotism lies because according to the president, those men taking a knee were not committing a patriotic act. Is it because they kneeled for equality and justice for Black people or is it because they decided to not follow the media’s rhetoric, that the murdered individuals “should have obeyed the orders of the police” irrespective of the fact that they were unarmed?

It makes me wonder what is so threatening about taking a knee? Is it the realization that people are no longer willing to keep silent while innocent people die? The most absurd aspect of this movement is that the perpetrators of these hideous acts go unpunished by our supposed equal and unbiased justice system.

My only fear is that this heroic act that cost Kaepernick his professional career may potentially become a mainstream act. More people, even those that criticized Kaepernick, are now coming out and taking a knee. My hope is that this is not a PR strategy just to gain public attention. I hope people are taking a knee against the systematic racism that exists within the police and the justice department, white supremacy and other forms of systematic oppression against people of color. That was Kaepernick’s noble intent and although the media has tried painting it otherwise, we see it for what it is and not what they want us to think it is.